The just concluded 2nd Test Bengaluru has once again made a fact – whenever India plays Australia fans be assured of high octane contest and even more charged up off the field war of words – crystal clear.
There has always been a potential risk a rift between both the teams every time they play. It has famously happened many times in the past and the post-match conference featuring an upset Virat Kohli is the latest testament.
The loss at Pune was unanticipated and Kohli was definitely in no mood to let the Australians get away with series winning advantage. The match was an intensely fought contest and the changing moods of skipper Kohli were visible throughout the match, especially in the final innings when Australia was slowly slipping away towards a loss. The match would have ended as just another India Test fixture which saw Kohli celebrating every dismissal as if was the last match of his career.
But, it did not. A journalist had a curious question to ask. He wished to know his opinion about the incident involving Smith’s dismissal.
“I saw that two times happening when I was batting out there,” Kohli said. “I pointed it out to the umpire as well, that it’s happened twice, that I’ve seen their players looking upstairs for confirmation, and that’s why the umpire was at him.
“When he turned back the umpire knew exactly what was going on, because we observed that, we told match referee also, and the umpires, that they’ve been doing that for the last three days and this has to stop, because there’s a line that you don’t cross on the cricket field, because sledging and playing against the opponents is different, but… I don’t want to mention the word, but it falls in that bracket. I would never do something like that on the cricket field.”
The strong words came after what happened on day four of the Test. Smith was ruled out lbw by a low Umesh Yadav delivery as Australia were cautiously in pursuit of 188 runs in an unpredictable pitch.
The opposition skipper reached to his batting partner Peter Handscomb and looked towards the dressing room after a 2-second chat for signals whether to take a review or not. Kohli wasn’t impressed with the act which was remarked as ‘brain fade’. He was just on course of giving a mouthful before Umpire Nigel Llong intervened immediately and sent Smith back. The Australian skipper duly apologized.
But, when asked for an opinion, Kohli did not mince a word. This seems to have irked many and questions about his temperament is doing rounds of social media as for now. It seems completely illogical given the fact that Kohli did it unintentionally. What he quoted was a response to the question that came up in the press conference as opposed to some sort of rant on Twitter.
He was clear about what to say and when asked if the word, which he refused to utter, was cheating, Kohli said: “I did not say that you did.”
There have been opinions which suggest Kohli had the option of taking the chalked out method of reporting the match referee about his grievance. He knows about such protocols and has done by filing a written complaint with ICC match referee Chris Broad. His official statement will be out in 48 hours.
Perhaps if there is someone who needs some lesson on the rules of the game is opposition skipper – Steve Smith – who agreed upon the suggestion of his inexperienced batting companion and made a mistake which irked Kohli.